Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual Property Law can be a minefield. The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (“IPONZ”) has a good description here of what Intellectual Property (IP) entails.
In simple term, it is property that results from creations of the mind, such as artworks, music designs, literature and discoveries resulting from research and development.
The IP protection with the broadest reach is a non-registrable copyright, which does not require official registration for it to exist. To fall into this category, the article in question – either physical or theoretical – requires some level of original effort, but also includes many important business assets such as databases and customer lists. It also overlaps with the registration of software and trade mark rights.
IPONZ provides useful information on registrable forms of IP. Some IP property can be understood, accessed and registered using their resources but many registrable items and concepts depend on a significant degree of technical and scientific input. We have good relations with those who can provide such advice.
Unfortunately, IP of any kind is of little significance by itself. It is what you do with it that counts. Whether you are enjoying it as a member of an art buying group, dealing with artworks as valuable personal property, identifying, protecting and exploiting IP as a commercial asset of a business, using the IP of others as a licensee or franchisee, or even planning to be the next Kim Dotcom, it pays to understand your rights and restrictions.
Using the combined knowledge of our commercial, employment, litigation and private client teams, we can provide advice and assistance in navigating the sometimes confusing area of IP law, adding significant value to your IP assets.
- Personal Ownership Advice – Is your interest in IP a personal pastime, for pleasure not profit? Do you want to join an art-buying group?
- Ownership Issues – Who owns your IP now? Who will own it in the future? Will you require a Trust?
- Commercial Intellectual Property Ownership – Does your business require brand names, trade get up or trade marks? What about other registrable IP such as patents?
- Cost-Effective IP Protection – What do you need to build an IP Protection that is cost-efficient?
- Intellectual Property Access Issues – Can you access someone’s IP? What are the conditions? Are the terms of any confidentiality, license or franchise agreement unduly restrictive?
- Sharing Intellectual Property – How should you go about permitting access to your IP? What happens if you combined multiple party’s IP? What are the conditions of use? What if something new is developed during the project? Who owns it? Who can use it? What restrictions and opportunities are there?
- Employees & Intellectual Property – How will you manage your employees’ access to your business’ IP? What if a key employee leaves or is dismissed? Do they own your IP? Can they compete against you?
- Intellectual Property Rights and Disputes What can you do about enforcing your rights?
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